“In the first public announcement about his controversial laptop computer program, Cobb schools Superintendent Joe Redden told board members Wednesday the four-year contract with Apple computers to supply about 63,000 iBook G4 laptops will cost $69.9 million. Redden said Apple negotiated a price of $350 per computer while the other two companies vying for the contract charged $404.25 (Dell) and $381.50 (IBM). ‘It’s a very conservative number,’ said Deputy Superintendent Dr. Don Beers, who gave the presentation alongside Redden,” Jon Gillooly reports for The Marietta Daily Journal.
“Beers said $69.9 million includes all expenses – $2.5 million for infrastructure, $5.7 million for a wireless network, $10.1 million for teachers’ laptops, $33.6 million for high school students’ laptops and $18 million for laptops for middle school students. The program is funded by the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax II, which sets aside almost $76 million for technology,” Gillooly reports. “Beers said the school system expects to save money on the laptop program by saving money on textbooks, reducing the number of portable classrooms by transforming computer labs into classroom space and selling the laptops to students when the leases expire.”
“Despite the controversial nature of the program – 90 percent of e-mails to school board members and Redden between Sept. 16 and Oct. 18 were opposed to the proposal, the Marietta Daily Journal discovered in an earlier open records request – there was only one public speaker at Wednesday’s meeting who did not speak about the laptop program,” Gillooly reports. “The laptop program now goes to the seven-member school board for a vote.”
Full article here.